About: the world this week, 31 October to 6 November 2021, warming up to climate change – the heat is on humankind to save the Planet; let’s do it with G20, COP26, with a new star called Hydrogen…among other things, while India drums its plans.


Weather is what we experience every day: and we watch and soak-up the predictions of, the day, the week, month, and the year, to plan adventures outside the safety of our cozy homes. Climate is the average weather in a place over many years. Climate Change is a shift in these average conditions – deeply studied by Scientists and other Masters of the climate change game, all over the world. Their study results tell us about the health of our Planet: whether it’s overworking itself in the gym to keep those toned, tiered, economy packs of countries in shape or whether it’s mostly in bed, under the blankets, and wearing ice caps.

It’s a fact that temperatures across the world are shooting-up because of human activity caused climate change now threatens every aspect of human life. If left unchecked, Earth-the only Planet in the Solar system known to support life – will experience catastrophic warming, with worsening droughts, greater rise in sea levels and mass extinction of living species. We face a gargantuan challenge, but there are potential solutions.

The sinister climate change we are now experiencing is caused by us humans using oil, gas, and coal to get various things done in our homes and factories, and for transport. When these fossil fuels burn, they release greenhouse gases – mostly that much maligned guy called, Carbon Dioxide (CO2)- which trap the Sun’s heat and cause the Earth’s temperature to rise.

The world is now about 1.2C (degrees centigrade) warmer than it was in the 19th Century. And the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by about 50%. Temperature rises must slow down if we want to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, and global warming needs to be kept under 1.5C by 2100, say Scientists – that’s the target, which we all need to own up. Remember, if we keep burning ourselves at the current pace we are looking at a whopping rise of 2.7C by the end of the century. That would be Hell!

One of the effects of climate change is that many small Groups are forming all over the world to discuss the future of Planet Earth. It’s almost like small clouds gathering to block harmful global warming sun-rays or send meaningful showers of rain down on to Earth.

Most of the Groups have a thread of climate change woven into them. And that’s the ‘hot and melting’ topic this week. Let’s start with a Group, leaning more towards the economics side.

G20 Italia 2021

The G20 or Group of Twenty is an intergovernmental forum consisting of 19 of the world’s major economies, and the European Union. It works to tackle major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development.

The G20 was founded in 1999 in response to several world economic crises. Since 2008, the Group convenes at least once a year, with Summits involving each member’s head of government or state, finance minister, foreign minister, and other high-ranking officials. In addition, International organisations, and nongovernmental organisations are invited to attend the summits, some on a permanent basis. The group’s chair rotates annually among the members and is selected from a different regional grouping of countries.

This year’s G20, the first G20 Summit hosted by Italy, was held in Rome on 30 October 2021 and 31 October 2021. It was the culmination of the work carried out during the whole year of the Italian Presidency through various initiatives and get-togethers.

What was the outcome?

Climate Change: The G20 committed to the key Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C and pledged action against dirty coal plants-agreed to stop funding new dirty coal plants abroad by the end of 2021- but fell short on a target of zero emissions.

Taxation: The G20 agreed to subject multinationals to a minimum 15% tax, as part of an effort to build ‘a more stable and fairer international tax system’. Internet giants of the United States, such as Amazon, Google’s Alphabet, Facebook’s Meta, and Apple – which have benefited from basing themselves in low-tax countries to minimise their tax bills – are particular targets of the new global regulation.

Vaccination: G20 vowed to support the WHO’s goal of vaccinating at least 40% of the world’s population against Covid-19 by 2021, and 70% by the middle of next year -2022, by boosting the supply of vaccines in developing countries and removing supply and financing constraints. They also promised to work together towards the recognition of Covid-19 vaccines deemed safe and efficacious by the WHO.

Others: Still reeling under Covid-related disruptions, G20 leaders ruled out a hasty removal of national stimulus measures. G20 set a new target of channelling USD 100 billion towards the poorest nations, coming from the USD 650 billion fund already made available by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) via a fresh issuance of its Special Drawing Rights (SDR).

SDRs are not a currency, but can be used by developing countries either as a reserve currency that stabilises the value of their domestic currency, or converted into stronger currencies to finance investments. For poorer countries, the interest is also to obtain hard currencies without having to pay substantial interest rates.

Now, onto our next Group on Climate Change.


Conference of the Parties (COP) is a United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference initiated to tackle climate change, and COP26 is the 26th summit held this year in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK).

The first COP meeting was held in Berlin, Germany, in March, 1995. Historic, path-breaking decisions and goals were made and adopted in COP3, Kyoto, Japan, December 1997, the outcome of which was The Kyoto Protocol, and in COP21, Paris, France, November-December 2015, the outcome of which was The Paris Agreement. Both these conferences set tangible targets which nations took home to work out on the treadmill.

Over the week, the bandwagon of world leaders flew directly from G20 Italia to COP26 Glasgow in what was a back-to-back meeting: wonder how many planes had to lift off and how much more gas they pumped into the poor atmosphere?

There is a new term we need to get familiar with: Net Zero. We heard it all the time over the past week.

Net Zero means a fine balancing of the gas books on our naughty gross climate affecting businesses. It means the greenhouse gas emissions pumped into the atmosphere by humans is balanced by creation of new carbon sinks – such as forests – to absorb an equivalent amount. You clean-up and mitigate your own muck!

How about other solutions?

Enter the Hydrogen Kid

There is a new star on the block an it is beginning to get famous – Hydrogen. Many say it is the answer to our climate change woes.

Hydrogen can be produced from diverse domestic resources with the potential for near-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Once produced, Hydrogen generates electrical power in a fuel cell, emitting only water vapour and warm air. It holds promise for growth in both the stationary and transportation energy sectors.

In a Hydrogen Economy, Hydrogen would be used in place of the fossil fuels that currently provide four-fifths of the world’s energy supply and emit the bulk of global greenhouse gas emissions. This could aid climate goals because of the obvious benefits of Hydrogen and the fact that it does not release CO2, on burning.

There are three main types of hydrogen fuel. First, ‘Grey’ Hydrogen, which is vast majority of Hydrogen in use-and there is plenty of it, mainly in industry-is made from natural gas. But the process emits CO2. Second, ‘Blue’, or as the gas industry likes to call it, ‘decarbonized’, Hydrogen is made from natural gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS) attached. Finally, ‘Green’ or ‘renewable’ Hydrogen, which every Hydrogen advocate says is the ultimate goal, is made from the electrolysis of water powered by electricity from renewable energy sources. Wow, I’m for green!

Hydrogen’s energy content by volume is low. This makes storing Hydrogen a challenge because it requires high pressures, low temperatures, or chemical processes to be stored compactly. Overcoming this challenge, and others is important in making Hydrogen more friendly.

A lot more needs to be done to make Hydrogen work: at the moment it’s just a kid that needs to grow up quickly.

India: Hear the Drums Boris?

India’s Prime Minister (PM) Modi was at his eloquent best beating drums and singing with the Indian diaspora in Italy and Glasgow before delivering India’s Climate Control targets.

India pledged to achieve Net Zero by the year 2070; achieve 50% of all its energy uses from renewable, non-fossil, clean-energy sources; increasing the total of such power generation to 500 Giga Watts (GW) by 2030; cut one billion tonnes of carbon emissions from the total projected emissions, again by 2030, and reduce carbon intensity by 45%. The PM also thumped his chest to say India is the only country that is delivering on the Paris Agreement targets.

These are indeed sexy figures to look at and a bold & beautiful statement by India.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the hosting country, UK, said PM Modi understands climate change and the power of sunshine very well, and has done some extraordinary things in his country. There is one sun, one world, one grid, and one Narendra Modi, he said. Later, trying to sit under the sun, the PMs warmly talked about a unifying future Solar Grid.

India’s Covaxin

This week the World Health Organisation (WHO) finally granted approval for India’s home grown Covid-19 Vaccine called Covaxin – made by Bharat Biotech – for emergency use. To use WHO’s technical jargon, it says, ‘the benefits of the shot, known as Covaxin, significantly outweighs the risks and it met the WHO standards for protection against Covid-19’.

The decision had been significantly delayed as the Advisory Group kept seeking additional clarifications every time data was submitted by Bharat Biotech, and it was beginning to look like a dark tunnel – without the end in sight. With the final risk benefit assessment successfully made by WHO, the vaccine can now be rolled out for global use. And it is expected to benefit many poor countries.

In India, Covaxin was given emergency-use authorisation in January 2021 before the completion of the last-stage trials, which later found the vaccine to be 78% effective against severe Covid-19. The approval, by WHO, is a shot in the arm for India’s indigenous vaccine manufacturing industry.


This week, the Festival of Lights – Diwali was celebrated by Hindus and other faiths as well, all over the world and especially in India. India’s Courts grew a new kind of nose, poking too much into religion, in banning bursting of firecrackers – which is integral to celebrating the festival – based on petitions linking the bursting of crackers to air-pollution and other kinds of disruptions. It did not bang well with most people and suddenly it has fired a debate of prejudice against the majority faith!

More stories of change, fire and smoke, coming up in the weeks ahead. Celebrate, and it’s all right to burst with World Inthavaaram.



About: the world this week, 24 October to 30 October 2021, lighting-up a festival, two unfriendly countries face-off in sport, trying to butterfly a ‘meta’morphosis, and a Princess cherishes her love and marries to become a commoner.


Fabindia: A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Fabindia is an Indian chain store retailing garments, fabrics, furnishings, and ethnic handmade products of traditional craftsmen in rural India. Established in 1960, Fabindia operates near about 327 stores across India and 14 international stores.

With the Hindu Festival Season of Diwali approaching, Fabindia wanted to try on some new costumes and sewed-up an advertisement to pay ‘homage to Indian culture’- it said so. Models showed them off and we watched. It named the collection ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’ – an Urdu phrase that means ‘celebration of tradition’.

But the celebration generated outrage in culturally sensitive India, on giving an Urdu name, rather than a Hindi one, to the collection. Further, the female models in the advertisement were not wearing the traditional colourful bindi – a dot – that a Hindu woman normally wears on her forehead. Some even thought that Diwali was being stolen – lock, stock, and barrel. Sensing the mood and not wanting to further tear into the Hindu fabric, Fabindia quickly sewed-up and smoked out the advertisement.

Urdu is a language which has its origins in India and is recognised in the Constitution as one of the country’s official languages. Some of India’s most celebrated poems and love songs are written in Urdu. Yet in recent years its use has become increasingly politicised in the public domain, often decried as the ‘Muslim’ language of the rival, neighbouring Islamic country of Pakistan.

Many religious boundaries are invisible, and we need to wear special laser glasses to find them. Certain risks are not worth taking. Let them be!

Facebook: Let’s Book Another Name?

This week the spotlight is on social media giant, Facebook, which also owns Instagram – the photo and video sharing platform, and WhatsApp – the instant messaging and voice-over-Internet Protocol (well, simply talking) Application.

Facebook, has been in the news over the past year(s), and quite some time back too, all for the wrong reasons: violating user privacy, selling user data, and making tons of paper with those famous faces printed on them telling and promising you their worth. Most of us were confused on what exactly was happening.

Finally, the pages are turning in the book of Facebook and even the paper is being felt by hand, while the company itself is attempting a makeover by doing the name-change thing. What next, Heartlook, or Mindhook?

An ex-employee Product Manager of Facebook, Frances Haugen, turned into a whistle-blower and she’s blowing a lot of heat and dust, which is being carried by the wind to all parts of the world. And Facebook is scurrying to mask its face.

A clearer picture of how Facebook was vividly aware of its harmful effects came to light, both at Frances Haugen’s testimony in front of the British Parliament and through a series of reports based on internal documents that she leaked, called ‘The Facebook Papers.’ And a collection of news organisations published stories based on the thousands of these documents, after working through them.

The reading is that Facebook puts ‘growth over safety,’ particularly in developing areas of the world where the company does not have language or cultural expertise to regulate content without fostering division among users. Facebook has a ‘strategy’ of only slowing down harmful content when ‘the crisis has begun,’ deploying its ‘glass break measures’ instead of making the platform ‘safer as it happens.’ The ongoing ethnic violence in Ethiopia and Myanmar was mentioned as an example: the ‘opening chapters of a novel that is going to be horrific to read.’ – drink the juices to the bottom and then break the glass?

To summarise, here is what we learnt: Facebook fails to moderate harmful content in developing countries; it’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm fails to accurately detect dangerous content in non-English languages; Facebook labeled election misinformation as ‘harmful, non-violating’ content; Facebook was aware that maids were being sold on its platform in the case when Filipina maids complained of being abused and sold: internal documents show that Facebook admitted it was ‘under-enforcing on confirmed abusive activity’.

Facebook internally debated removing the Like button in 2019. It examined how people would interact with content if it no longer had a Like feature on Instagram, suggesting that the company was aware that this feature could have a negative impact on well-being. According to documents, the Like button had sometimes caused the platform’s youngest users ‘stress and anxiety’ if the posts didn’t get many likes from friends-but when hidden, users interacted less with posts and advertisements, and it failed to alleviate social anxiety as they thought it might. Facebook hasn’t made Instagram safer for children as the company knows ‘young users are the future of the platform and the earlier they get them, the more likely they’ll get them hooked.’

Wow, that’s a whole book coming up. Perhaps a name change might trick us into forgetting the face… and reading many more books of the past?

Facebook has perhaps hit the ‘Dislike Button’ on a certain kind of lawlessness in our social fabric, which we are unable to figure out, but given a face by Facebook. And it seems to be making the best of it – let’s face it – liking and thriving. One of my favourite Western Novels is Oliver Strange’s, ‘Sudden: The Marshall of Lawless’, where a former outlaw turned law-keeper – Sudden- brings to book a lawless Town called Lawless. Let’s call Sudden to Marshall Facebook?Jim Green wears ‘em two guns strung low on the thighs and fires at blazing speed from the hip.

Towards the end of this week, founder Mark Zuckerberg, found his voice, showed his face, lifted an alphabet from the Google book, and rebranded the holding company as ‘Meta’ – with a blue infinity symbol – meaning beyond. The mother hen is called Meta while the chicks under its wings, such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp…hold on to their original names.

Who remembers the mother anyway, with the chicks around? Google, we remember all the time, but Alphabet? Strange indeed are the winds of change. Reminds me of the often used Chinese way of explaining change, ’same same, but different’.

Japan: A Princess Loves, Marries, and Leaves.

Royal families all over the World sit upon rich thrones of wealthy traditions, which rather than make meaningful change, they keep alive, scrupulously following them for fear of losing their identity, ‘royalness’, and for reasons we may never really know. Guardians of ‘wealthy’ traditions?

In Japan, female members of the Imperial Family are not allowed to marry a commoner and if they choose to do so they forfeit their royal status and title, and become an ordinary citizen. Male royal members have household names and female royals only have titles. Further, Japanese law requires married couples to use only one surname, almost always the husband’s.

The current Emperor of Japan is Naruhito who has just one child – a daughter. The male-only succession tradition of the Japanese Royal Family leaves the Emperor’s younger brother, Prince Akishino – declared heir to the Throne and Crown Prince- and his son, Prince Hisahito, in line for Japan’s Royal Chrysanthemum Throne.

This week, Princess Mako, the first child and eldest daughter of Prince Akishino married a commoner, Kei Komuro, who she said had won over her heart with ‘his bright smiles like the sun’. She will now be simply know as Mako Komuro.

Mako skipped the usual rites associated with a royal wedding, and turned down a traditional payment of about USD 1.3 million given to a female member of the imperial family upon their departure from the household. It was another break from tradition, as Mako became the first woman to do so.

Mako and Komuro had met five years earlier when they were both university students, and shared their plans to get married, the following year.

The former princess initially followed royal tradition and attended the elite Gakushuin School, where members of the Japanese imperial family usually study. But she broke with custom by leaving and joining Tokyo’s International Christian University, where she studied art and cultural heritage, and spent a year at the University of Edinburgh. Later, she earned a master’s degree at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.

The Newly-Weds are expected to move to the United States, where Komuro works as a lawyer. The move has drawn comparisons with British royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, earning the newlyweds the nickname ‘Japan’s Harry and Meghan’.

Before the couple got to this stage there were media reports of fishy money dealings in the Komuro family, but Mako stood by Komuro saying the reports were incorrect. There was another ‘tale’ added when Komuro return to Japan sporting a pony-tail and the media saying he was unfit to marry the princess. Whatever, the pony-tail got chopped off at the Wedding and they indeed made a handsome couple.

“Kei is irreplaceable for me,” gushed the Princess. “For us, marriage is a necessary choice to live while cherishing our hearts.”

Mako is expected to remain in Tokyo for some time preparing for the move, which includes applying for the first passport of her life.

I admire the princess for giving up her royal status for the love of her life: that makes her more royal than ever!

Sports: Clash of Religions

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Men’s T20 (a match of twenty overs each for the two sides) World Cup 2021, which is held every two years, is underway in the United Arab Emirates. It started on 17 October 2021 and is scheduled to end on 14 November 2021.

Six T20 World Cup tournaments have so far been played: the last Tournament was held in 2016 and there were delays on the start of the next Tournament, which was further amplified by the pandemic. And here we are at the seventh edition.

The inaugural T20 World Cup was staged in South Africa, and won by India – defeating Pakistan in the Finals. The current title holder is the West Indies who beat England in the 2016 Finals and claimed their second Title win. We have had five champions from the six tournaments: India, Pakistan, SriLanka, West Indies, and England.

This Sunday traditional arch rivals India and Pakistan played each other, in their opening game, and India lost, which generated all kinds of extreme reactions in many parts of the country, with religion being bowled – spin, googly, and fast – and smashed across the media, in addition to showing knee-support to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Many argued that other issues such as the Kashmir Pandits being targeted in killings in Kashmir should have taken a better knee. That’s a pot-boiler in one match!

I would always support my National Team as they represent us in the sporting arena. And find it disgustful that some in India supported and celebrated the Pakistan win – standing on the podium of religion. Religion should have no place in sport. The way I look at it, do admire the talent of a player of another country and enjoy his performance, but when the National Team plays we should alway be behind them, cheering them on to beat the best talent of the opposition. In the process we grow and become better – on the playing ground and maybe off it too!

More uncommon princess stories coming up in the weeks ahead and about breaking and keeping traditions. Grow with World Inthavaaram.

Happy Diwali – be the light that you want to be!


About: This is what happened this week, in our World.


“Life is in the transitions. We can’t ignore these central times of life; we can’t wish or will them away. We have to accept them, name them, mark them, share them, and eventually convert them into fuel for remaking our life stories.” – William James, American Philosopher and Psychologist.


The United States (US) of America.

Transition is the word ruling the US, at the moment, with the Presidential Election yet to be formally declared as complete. The Biden-Harris team scored a winning 306 (with Arizona, and Georgia-on recounting-siding with Biden) Electoral votes, to Donald Trump’s 232, over the median 270 required to become the 46th President.

The President and Vice President-Elect combo of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris got down to serious work, after shaking their legs in the victory celebrations. We liked their moves, especially the formation of an impressive COVID-19 Advisory Board and Task Force to control the spiralling coronavirus cases in the US. The team is vaccinated with Scientists, Doctors and Disease Containment Specialists. Must be giving the virus sleepless, scary days and nights.

However, President Donald Trump refuses to concede, accept defeat, and allow for a smooth transition of power. A seamless transition has always been a hallmark of US Democracy. And this too is being put to a challenge.

Donald Trump is still crying like a child refusing to grow-up, throwing tantrums as when a favourite toy has been pinched by the boy next-door. And making wild, baseless election-fraud charges. Meanwhile, the US’s Transition Act kicks-in to allow the ‘President-Elect’ to choose his team players, and practice playing ball before starting to shoot goals from 20th January 2021 onwards.

Lots happening in the US with the ‘borders of the law’ and the American Constitution being severely ruffled and tested. A Time to Heal?

Vaccines: Prevention is always better than cure.

Vaccine developers all over the World, are working at a furious, accelerated pace to produce a vaccine that would safely prevent us from being infected by the novel coronavirus and suffer from the effects of COVID-19.

We breathed the first sign of relief when on 9th November, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine trial was over 90% effective in getting the job done. And it has not produced any serious safety concerns. The company’s vaccine trial is in Phase-III and involves more than 43,000 global volunteers.

What is Phase-III? This is the final phase of testing for approval of a new drug or a new vaccine. In Phase-III, the vaccine is tested at multiple locations on thousands of volunteers and must prove itself to be efficacious, potent and safe to deliver its intended purpose-as specified by the Vaccine makers.

Early results suggest the Pfizer vaccine is working – putting it at the top of a global vaccine race.

What next? The vaccine moves to Phase-IV when it is approved and licensed to be manufactured in a large scale and delivered all over the World without loss of potency.

Meanwhile, we need to hold our breath, behind those masks and hold a No-Entry placard to the virus.


State Elections

The counting in the 243 seat Bihar State Assembly Elections took place on the 10th November. The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was voted back to power with 125 seats and the Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP) rising-up to carve out 74 seats on its own as the second largest Individual Party, to the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) 75 seats. The counting saw a see-saw battle between the NDA and the Mahagathbandan – an alliance of the Challengers-, but the NDA kept its nerves and prevailed. The Modi – Shah team keeps delivering election victory after election victory.

Most Opinion Polls and Exit polls found mud flying on to their faces having predicted a clear win for the RJD led Mahagathbandan.

I think it would be wise for the BJP to keep going with Nitish Kumar as the Chief Minister-for the fourth time, despite his Party, the Janata Dal (United), dropping its clothes, down to 43 seats (from last time’s 71). Nitish has lost his charm and political good looks; needs to rediscover his magic – add colour to his hair – to walk the ramp, again. The BJP should look to the future, and have somebody to blame should things go topsy-turvy in Bihar.

Diwali – row of lights.

In week 42 we talked about how Navratri was one of Hinduism’s most celebrated festivals. This week, we add Diwali to ‘that ones’ list.

Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, symbolises, again, the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. It also signifies new beginnings. We are tired to the end of our finger nails (with soap washing), at the fag end of a dreadful year and maybe we should lie back and begin a new beginning of the end of the year.

Across India, the reasons to celebrate have many Hindu stories. One is the festival marks Lord Krishna’s defeat of the demon Narakasura. Another is the homecoming of Lord Rama and Sita to the city of Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana, when they were welcomed with a row of lighted diyas (mud lamps). Yet another is the commemoration of the marriage of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.

We all need a reason to celebrate: have that oil bath, wear new clothes, light diyas, exchange sweet gifts with family and friends, and ponder on how to live a brighter and better life. Transition here too!



The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 Cricket Tournament concluded in the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai on 10th November, with Mumbai Indians winning the Champion Title for the fifth time. They beat Delhi Capitals by five wickets.

Earlier, Delhi Capitals won the second qualifier against Sunrisers Hyderabad, who failed to rise any higher.

Kings XI Punjab’s K L Rahul stayed the course as the top scorer with 670 runs off seventeen games, while Mumbai Indians’ Ishan Kishan scored the maximum sixes – 30, in fourteen games

Time to move over to other games



It’s been a never-ending endeavour of Man to finds mean of travelling the Earth faster and safer.

British Businessman Richard Branson’s Virgin Group having grounded its flying-in-the-air business, Virgin Atlantic, is trying the flying thing on land.

Virgin Hyperloop gave the first ride on its test track this Sunday in Las Vegas, US, but it will be years before the public can actually take a high-speed ride on a Hyperloop.

A Hyperloop is a work-in-progess, unproven, transportation system in which people travel in a vehicle, a pod – in a vacuum tube at speeds as high as 960 kilometres per hour (kph). The tubes may be located in underground tunnels or just placed overground. Imagine a long pipeline traversing the country – filled with people!

Virgin’s Hyperloop system includes magnetic levitation, similar to that used in the Japanese high-speed Bullet Trains. Magnetic levitation works on the principle of magnetic repulsion between the train cars and the track. It lifts a train car above a track, as the magnets’ like poles push the train upward, eliminating contact friction. The magnets also propel the train as like poles repel and push the train forward, and the opposite poles attract and pull the train forward. The ‘zero friction’ between metals and the ‘zero air resistance’, due to vacuum in the tube make possible the awesome speeds.

Virgin Hyperloop’s pod could only touch 160 kph on a 500 meters long track; apparently longer test tracks need to be built to reach the target 960 kph.

Richard Branson started his first business, a mail order Record Business, in 1970, which later turned in Virgin Records and went on to become the biggest independent label in the world, signing-up Music Artists to produce best-selling Albums. Mike Oldfield was their first such Artist producing the number one selling Album, Tubular Bells. Others were, The Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones.

Incidentally, the name Virgin came into being because when Branson started, he was entirely new to business.

Virgin flew into the aviation Business with Virgin Atlantic, in 1984, and gradually expanded into other businesses.

Time to declare that Richard Branson is ‘no longer a Virgin’?


Flamingoes are those long-legged, bright pink, flame-coloured birds with a curved beak.

They are not born with curved beaks, which takes months to take shape, and are not born with that trademark pink colour. In fact, they are born grey and become pink over the years by eating beta-carotene (a red-orange pigment) loaded crustaceans and shrimp prevalent in their wetland environment. It takes about two years for the pink colour to load, if they keep at their exclusive beta-carotene diet. They have black colouring under their wings, which can be seen only when there are up in the air. The flamingoes are a classic example of, ‘you are what you eat’. The next time you see a white flamingo, don’t gasp in surprise, you know why.

Nearer our dining table, carrots are known to be heavy with carotenoids. If we humans persist with eating tons of carrots every day, there is a fair chance that one can acquire some degrees of an orange shade. Seen any orange men or women around?

Flamingoes pair for life sometimes hang around up to 50 years with the same mate. Wow, that sure is single-minded dedication. Marry a Flamingo?

Flamingos can sleep in ponds that freeze around their legs at night, drink water at boiling temperatures, and survive in conditions that expose them to arsenic and poisonous gases.

Lots of survival lessons to learn from them flamingoes


I love Hollywood movies – they make them so well – and there is an ever-growing list of must-see-movies to tick off. The problem is I keep going back to see the ones I like the most. One such movie is ‘Robin Hood’, 2010, directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russel Crowe – as Robin Hood – and the ‘appropriately beautiful’ Cate Blanchett. Out of the many Robin Hood movies out there this one impressed me the most.

Watch it to know how a smart undefeatable fighter in a Kingdom becomes an Outlaw, only because he was good at what he was. And a King got jealous because Robin Hood was ‘actually the King’ in warding off a French attack on England, and demanding that a Charter of Rights be made Law – ensuring the rights of every Englishman to his land and work, and to unite the Country.

More stories to tell in the week(s) ahead – watch this space for the way the world transitions.